- One in five children
who use computer "chatrooms"
has been approached over the
internet by paedophiles, says the police officer
heading the Home
Office's internet crime forum.
- Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Akerman, who has
prepared a report detailing the extent of the problem, is advising parents
to house computers in a main living area so that the use of the internet
can be supervised.
- Last night Mr Akerman said: "There is clearly a
out there of which parents and children are not yet fully aware.
aim of this report is to highlight the dangers and suggest practical
ways the risks can be reduced."
- Mr Akerman said: "Part of
the problem is that we
are dealing with new technology and in many
cases the children understand
it better than the parents. Some parents
rely on their children to set
up the computer, so it is hard to impose
controls on them."
- The report suggests that all internet companies
in Britain should implement safety measures, such as
to help prevent adults entering chatrooms aimed
at children. It also recommends
that new "alarm" mechanisms
be placed on all website chatrooms
aimed at young people so that
children can immediately contact help if
anyone makes an inappropriate
or dubious approach to them.
- Parents will have to be told about the possible dangers
of allowing their children to use the internet when they subscribe to any
- A six-point guide to safe use of chatrooms will also
to parents and children to ensure that they know how to avoid
into a molestor's clutches. The Chatwise, Streetwise guide is expected
to be given out in schools in a similar way that the Green Cross Code is
for road use.
- It will tell youngsters never to give out any personal
information on the internet, never to arrange a meeting without informing
parents, and not to get into an exchange of emails with anyone suspicious.
Children are often lured to websites used by paedophiles by the use of
toy brand names in their web addresses. The recommendations and guidelines
contained in the report are being studied by Jack Straw, the Home
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